, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 431-436
Date: 20 Aug 2011

On the irrationality of mind-uploading: a rely to Neil Levy


In a paper in this journal, Neil Levy challenges Nicholas Agar’s argument for the irrationality of mind-uploading. Mind-uploading is a futuristic process that involves scanning brains and recording relevant information which is then transferred into a computer. Its advocates suppose that mind-uploading transfers both human minds and identities from biological brains into computers. According to Agar’s original argument, mind-uploading is prudentially irrational. Success relies on the soundness of the program of Strong AI—the view that it may someday be possible to build a computer that is capable of thought. Strong AI may in fact be false, an eventuality with dire consequences for mind-uploading. Levy argues that Agar’s argument relies on mistakes about the probability of failed mind-uploading and underestimates what is to be gained from successfully mind-uploading. This paper clarifies Agar’s original claims about the likelihood of mind-uploading failure and offers further defense of a pessimistic evaluation of success.

This paper is a response to Neil Levy’s paper: “Searle’s wager” (AIS Vol. 26.4).
An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00146-013-0533-4.